WTF Weekly

my thoughts on the week that was

09 Mar 2020

WTF Weekly for Mar 09, 2020

Hello again, and don’t worry:

The US Has a ‘Plan’ to Fight Coronavirus: You

There are multiple “D” plans in place in the U.S. to deal with Coronavirus. The president is in DENIAL. The CDC is just DUMBFOUNDED.

“The equity and justice issues for this epidemic are going to be enormous,” Gostin says. “People who are poor tend to be sicker. They’re going to be more vulnerable. They’re going to need medications. They’re going to need food, social support, mental support. They’re going to need health care. But we have no plan. Not only don’t we have a Plan B, we don’t even have a Plan A.”

Basically Americans tend to plan by going into survivalist mode rather than acting as a cohesive society, which isn’t surprising at all given our rugged individualist myth and our national gun religion based upon it.

Speaking of preparedness, GOOD NEWS! You no longer need to fear your iPhone as a source of death and disease!

Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Apple Confirms That It’s Okay to Clean Your iPhone With Disinfectant

I think I’ll start taking Clorox wipes to random people’s phones at work and see what happens.

Fukushima powers up one of world’s biggest hydrogen plants

Near the Fukushima nuclear power plant that gained notoriety for its colossal failure in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese have opened a large solar-powered hydrogen plant.

I’ll admit that I know nothing about hydrogen power or why we don’t hear a lot about it. The Japanese seem to think it’s promising, but I don’t know what industries are equipped to make use of hydrogen power.

The facility makes hydrogen by decomposing water, using electricity generated from its solar power plant.

Makes me wonder if they’re using water from Fukushima, and if the location is a complete coincidence or not…

This Small Company Is Turning Utah Into a Surveillance Panopticon

2020 seems to be the year of rushing headlong into our dystopian future. Anyone who thought Snowden’s 2013 NSA surveillance disclosures would lead to a serious national conversation on the topic are surely disabused of that notion by now. It’s getting worse, and fast.

The worst thing about the current state of our society is that it enables companies like Banjo and weirdos like Damien Patton to cash in on the “surveillance is good for you” mantra that governments everywhere are adopting, which no one really seems to be pushing back against in meaningful numbers.

“We essentially do most of what Palantir does, we just do it live,” Bryan Smith, Banjo’s top lobbyist, told the Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center Operations Board, which is made up of police chiefs and 911 dispatch officials, in August. “So Palantir is a tool you use for analysis, kind of to deep dive investigate certain things. What we want to do is deliver you the information right at the moment.”

It’s a bit mind-boggling when a company can openly posture itself as an even more capable Palantir, and assume that’s to be taken as a positive. Authoritarianism is definitely alive and well in the U.S. of A.

EARN IT is a direct attack on end-to-end encryption

Listen, no one wants child porn on the internet,1 and we want law enforcement to be able to find and prosecute actual criminals. The problem is that “think of the children” is always their go-to when trying to remove some civil liberty or super essential technology.

It’s extremely difficult to believe that this bill stems from an honest consideration of the rights of child victims, and that this legislation is anything other than a direct attack on the use of end-to-end encryption.

My hope is that the Internet community and civil society will treat this proposal with the seriousness it deserves, and that we’ll see Senators rally behind a bill that actually protects children from abuse, rather than using those issues as a cynical attempt to bring about a “backdoor ban” on encryption.

I’m starting to think I should have named this site “Dystopian Diaries”. It’s a pretty depressing world we live in at the moment.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me about typos or to talk about anything I’ve included here.

You can find more of my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com


  1. No one who isn’t a creepy pig, I should say. ↩︎